THE first volume of Modern Painters was an early harvest of nineteenth century ideals. In spite of the traditional terms which the introductory chapters contained, the following pages glow with the appreciation of a fully realized, new art. For more than forty years poets had been "idealizing the real" -- had been, as Fairchild says, penetrating "the natural by the supernatural. . . . to interpret life in terms of wishful emotion." 1 A similar reinterpretation of the world had been taking place in the fine arts, particularly in paintings. Turner had been recognized as an important modern for more than twenty-five years, and even fifty years before Ruskin's book appeared social forces had been altering the critical attitudes which I have briefly described. By 1843 the time was ripe for a new dogmatism; many questions pertaining to what was now called moral culture had become embarrassing.
Progress in scientific thought, the development of the concept of history, the increasing popular interest in external nature had inevitably confused critical points of view and introduced new problems for theorists. Changes in the social structure of England, the invention of cheaper processes of printing, the rise of the magazine, had made profitable the popularization of art on a scale unknown before; a different and larger public, led by